Afternoon InquisitionSkepticism

AI: Rape’s not so bad when the kid likes it


Last week, in England, two 21-year-old men were found guilty of raping an 11-year-old girl and were sentenced to just under 3 1/2 years for the crime. The judge thought that the crime was bad, but video footage (found on one of the defendant’s phones) showed that she may have enjoyed the rape and, besides, she totally looked 14.

Sentencing the pair, who claimed the young girl looked at least 14, Judge David Farrell QC reportedly told Luton Crown Court there were exceptional factors in the “abhorrent” case that led him to reduce the sentence.

“Despite her age it is accepted she was a willing participant, but the law is there to protect young girls from this type of behaviour and to protect them from themselves,” he said.

She was 11. She was tag-teamed by two 21 year old men. They videoed it. They kept it on their phones. But she didn’t look 11; she looked 14. So even though she still looked two years too young to legally be  “a willing participant” and actually was five years too young to consent, she was still totally consenting. And since we all know that there is a legally appropriate way for a rape victim to respond to being raped while being raped, she wasn’t rape-raped (if you don’t fight, it’s because you loved it). How much responsibility can we really expect from horny 21 year olds when there are sexy 11 year olds around. What’s a guy gonna do?

Not that it’s not a crime to the judge, but not like real felony type of crime… more like serial shop lifting or having a bunch of weed in your nightstand.

What really infuriates me is that this judge was required to undergo special training to preside over rape cases, and was required to obtain a “rape ticket”. (I know I know, Daily Mail… but… still.)

How does this even happen?  What the fuck? What kind of judicial rape training teaches judges that “she liked it” can be used when considering sentencing? Is 14 the new young hot and sexy? Is there any appropriate question I can ask besides requesting you post some fucking rage right here? 

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.

Weird ass image courtesy United Way of Greater Milwaukee for a campaign that never ran… because they, at some point, realized that sexy kids weird people the fuck out.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. Elyse,

    What the Hell is wrong with that Judge? Seriously! If the kid likes it, the sentence is reduced? Seriously!!?

  2. I really hope that photo is photoshopped. There’s something really unsettling between the sexualized pose of the rather adult-looking torso and the young girl’s smile.

    The judge should go to jail too. &*@%in’ hell.

    1. I’m pretty sure that’s part of an ad campaign and that it was indeed photoshopped, and that was part of the reason for the ad campaign. I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

  3. This is fucking stupid…
    First, she was raped so end of story. They get put on sex offender list, must see a shrink and jail for 10 years. (personally I’d say castration but… )
    …but then she is found to be 11.. okay now Castration please
    …but she looked 14…. um.. um.. SO FUCKING WHAT!?!

    I say castration of the two with super hot piano wire.
    To hell with this 3.5 years in jail crap.

  4. Unfortunately in the corners of first world of society where the readers of Skepchick rarely hang out, this is very common.

    When I was into my more drug heavy days in my own underage years, I hung out in rough neighborhoods. I saw a lot of girls who were as young as 11-14 bragging about their sexual adventures with much older men. And sometimes I saw these much older men come around… and you know what I saw? Manipulation.

    A lot of these girls had come from broken, drug-filled homes and had been raped at very young ages. A lot of them clearly felt like they had no hope in life and were engaging with these guys because they offered them what appeared to be care, attention, and often times, drugs. But what it really was was exploitation of a lack of love at home and dire circumstances for sexual gratification.

    And THAT’S why it’s illegal to engage with a minor. Because often times they’re kids looking for attention and instead, they are emotionally and sexually exploited.

    Do they look like they might enjoy it? Maybe. But that doesn’t matter one damn bit. What this judge doesn’t realize is that regardless of that, they ARE STILL BEING EXPLOITED and must be defended.

    I think a lot of people think in first world societies, that we are somehow more civilized than that, and this is a rare occurence, but I assure you it’s not. It’s RAMPANT. This happens everyday in our oh-so-advanced Western culture and jack shit is done about it.

    Moral of the story, most of the readers here come from privileged backgrounds where our parents loved, supported, and perhaps funded our dreams. So please consider volunteering for social work with troubled kids who are far less fortunate than you. A lot of them lack good care and love and are in danger of being raped and it helps to let them know that they are indeed worth something to society. We need to give them confidence to stand up to this exploitation and help them further lives. Please consider volunteering.

    1. You raise some really good points and are 100% correct. Sigh. Sometimes I just want to crawl into a hole and never come out.

      1. Well that’s exactly what you should NOT do. You out of all people have the fire and passion behind your eyes about this cause. Go share it with girls who’ve never had a chance in their life! You’d be surprised at how much of a difference you might be able to make.

        1. Well, of course. :) I didn’t mean it literally.

          I’ve volunteered with a local LGBQT youth org before, and I also occasionally volunteer for a local music conservatory that focuses on youth. But in general I don’t really have a whole lot of time to start volunteering in every single area that needs help, ya know? There’s only so much this one gal can do!

  5. As a former child, current mother and all around human being I find myself without the ability to express how angry that Judge and those two men who raped that little girl make me. I’m angry, ashamed to have them as part of the human race and seriously disgusted that anyone could possibly think it was okay to have sex with a young girl or to think that the men deserved any kind of break because of “exceptional factors.”

  6. I saw this earlier today and actually GASPED and felt nauseous. I can still barely take it in. And I’ve got nothing constructive to say at this time.

  7. I’d like to say to everyone here. If you’re nautious, then go help these kids. I assure %100 that there are programs in your areas waiting for volunteers to help them out.

    And if you can tutor math, science, english, engineering, or computer science go and volunteer your time.

    Although it seems hopeless when reading this article, it really does help.

    1. There is a really great LGBQT youth organization here in phoenix, and they also have a shelter for Gay/Trans young men (up to age 20 I want to say?). It’s so bad on the streets for children to begin with, but add on being gay or trans, and the fact that they were most likely tossed out onto the streets by abusive parents… Sigh.

      1. Yeah that community really needs help, because not only can they come from the same circumstances as regularly abused kids, society as a whole shits on them every day. Horrible.

        Glad you’re helping!

    2. Indeed it does help. This stuff is what I’ve been dealing with professionally for over 28 years and I’ve observed mentoring and volunteering make a big difference in the lives of abused and at risk children.

  8. In all seriousness, if a girl in that situation doesn’t act like she hates it, then that’s proof alone that this girl does not have the maturity to understand what is going on. Her immaturity is being taken advantage of. Her reaction should not have anything to do with the ruling at all. Rape is just wrong, no matter what angle you look at it.

      1. Or just having an orgasm. You can still orgasm during a rape… it’s a physiological response, not an affirmation of pleasure and consent.

        There’s so many reasons why “appears to like it” is a terrible defense of a light sentence.

      2. Or maybe she saw her relatives sexually abusing her siblings or friends, or was raped herself from a young age, and confused that attention with love, and actively sought it out.

  9. I have had two perverts make comments on my blog recently. One defended pedophelia, while the other defended incest. It seems that they are operating under the assumption that because homosexuality need not be considered a disease or a sin in a secular society, therefore ANYTHING goes!

    1. I honestly do not understand why people are against incest.
      It makes 0 sense to me.
      Your whole argument is basically that the offspring has a higher risk of being deformed.
      So fucking what?

      Are we going to criminalize people with huntingtons or with genetic diseases from having Children?
      Not just that, but also ban them from having Sex altogether?

      Your argument makes no sense and you should feel bad.

      1. I think people hear “parents abusing children”.

        But what is also means is that two grown-ups are not allowed to be together because they happen to be brother and sister? On the basis that it is “sick”, disguised by the “oh no! their children will be ill!” farce.

      2. I am probably not going to care if two cousins get it on, if the power structure isn’t totally out of whack. Like, if one cousin didn’t care for the other cousin growing up or whatever.

        HOWEVER, when it comes to parents and their children (this includes step parents and their step kids), the power differences start to come into play, and make things super creepy. Same goes for most other family relationships. It’s not all about possibly having birth defects, since these same rules should apply to same-sex incest as well. A dad and his son having a sexual relationship is just as creepy. Or an aunt and her nephew. Or what-have-you.

        Also, sibling relationships … can have weird power structures as well, and there you do have a very high chance of having a child with deformities, AND that child will have a *lot* of difficulties coming to terms with the fact that their parents are siblings. Ya know?

        But yeah, it’s one of those complex issues that relies a lot on societal expectations and taboos and whatnot. But I think in general, incest is not a good thing because of the power structures that can be involved.

        1. I know this is pretty complex as an issue, but can’t every and ANY relationship have a weird power structure?
          My heart just goes out to people who are genuinely in love with each other and shunned because their love is “weird”. I know it’s a difficult thing because someone might come along and say this is true for children, too. But I don’t think it is. I think children are different but I’m not sure how philosophical sound that is, either.
          We wouldn’t say it’s wrong or forbidden for a very stupid woman/man to be with a very intelligent woman/man, even though we might expect power structures that are off.

          “AND that child will have a *lot* of difficulties coming to terms with the fact that their parents are siblings. ”

          Mhm, not sure whether this is a good argument. Sounds too much like “the child will be traumatized from having two dads, and no mom”, etc.

          1. First, power differences have nothing to do with intelligence.

            But otherwise I just don’t know enough on the subject to really argue further. But I do believe that parent/child relationships in our society are such that any kind of sexual relationship would be abuse. Even as an adult. I mean, we’re still very connected to our parents as adults, and for some of people, parents will always have influence and hold a certain power over their children, no matter the age. It’s just the way the relationship is structured in most of modern society.

        2. I don’t disagree with anything you have to say about Power imbalance, or that Incest is probably not a great idea most of the time. But just because it might not be a good idea is no reason to criminalise it, like it is in Germany and the UK (my home countries)

          In Germany specifically two siblings that have been in a relationship for 12 years now, had their children taken away, and the man had to spend several years in jail. Just because they decided to have a relationship.

          Stigmatizing Incest helps nobody and only causes psychological damage to the people involved. Criminalizing it is just cruel.

          I don’t think there are any legitimate arguments against it. If you have sex with your underage kids its still rape. If you manipulate your adult kids to have sex with you, its still coercion and rape.

          Normal couples have children with deformities, and normal couples have shitty relationships with a power imbalance.

          It might be that power imbalance is more likely in Incestuous couples, but that’s just pure speculation. And even if its true, we don’t prevent people from choosing a partner that is perceived as a parental figure.

          Incest between consenting adults is a victimless crime, and I hate that it is being compared to raping children.

          1. “It might be that power imbalance is more likely in Incestuous couples, but that’s just pure speculation. And even if its true, we don’t prevent people from choosing a partner that is perceived as a parental figure.”

            That’s what I wanted to say and didn’t get across, uh. Thanks.

          2. I think I mostly agree with you, but I don’t know if I agree with this:

            “Incest between consenting adults is a victimless crime, and I hate that it is being compared to raping children.”

            Just because someone consents, or appears to consent, doesn’t mean the relationship still isn’t abusive, or that there aren’t victims. I know, because I was in such a relationship (see downthread).

            It’s one of those complex issues that I will probably neve form a full opinion on.

      3. “I honestly do not understand why people are against incest.
        It makes 0 sense to me.”

        For me, it’s about being able to love someone, whether a relative or not, without necessarily wanting to have sex with him or her. Sex and love should be separate concepts in people’s minds. Sorry if that makes me sound like a Christian to you!

        “Are we going to criminalize people with huntingtons or with genetic diseases from having Children?”

        I think if two people, whether related or not, KNOW that they have a genetic disorder and play sexual russian roulette to have children that might also inherit that disorder, it’s one of the most selfish and irresponsible things that can ever be done.

        I don’t believe in a “right to reproduce” and I don’t give a damn who condemns me for daring to question such a thing.

        “Your argument makes no sense and you should feel bad.”

        Want to throw me in jail for my opinions? Until you have that power, don’t tell me what to think.

        1. I tend to think that the genetic mutation argument is a nonstarter now with all the prenatal testing available.

          I am really uncomfortable with the power dynamic issue with family sex. And I might be wrong, but I have a hard time believing that these relationships happen to conveniently develop when all parties are well into adulthood. Does anyone really happen to be at their thirtieth birthday party and look across the room and think, “Damn, my mom is hot. I think I’m going to hit that”?

          1. Yeah, I agree.

            But it shouldn’t be a criminal issue, unless it involves abuse, rape, coercion etc. in which case it falls under the respective category.

            I think it’s a possibility that a lot of incestuous relationships are not very healthy, to say the least. I don’t know, and I think any data would be highly skewed because of how strongly it is condemned.

            If there is a problem between consenting adults, that does not involve abuse, Instead of throwing them into jail and condemning the activity we should try and give them psychological and societal assistance.

        2. I agree that people should take responsibility for themselves, especially when they know they might pass on something very, very dangerous to their theoretical children.

          But, I don’t believe that people should be TOLD what to do with their bodies, or if they should have those children. And I certainly don’t believe laws should be made regarding that. Do you?

          It’s one thing to believe that people should take responsibility regarding these issues, and it’s another to think that such choices should be governed.

          1. It might be selfish, but that doesn’t mean there should be laws against.
            Or if you really think so, you’d have to have real laws against every irresponsible person having a child. And how to you determine this?
            If the government had this much power over how people live their lives I’d more than creeped out!

          2. Er, did you read my comment? I said that while people should take personal responsibility, such things should not be mandated/governed.

          3. haha i thought so. sometimes this threading crap gets hard to understand. no worries!!

        3. “For me, it’s about being able to love someone, whether a relative or not, without necessarily wanting to have sex with him or her. Sex and love should be separate concepts in people’s minds. Sorry if that makes me sound like a Christian to you!”

          Not at all, I think that’s perfectly sound. I just fail to see the connection to Incest. It’s not like legalizing incest forces people to have sex with all their relatives, or to stop loving them. Sex and Love can be as decoupled with incestuous couples as with any other couple.
          Also I think there is a difference between platonic love, romantic love and just Sexual desire.

          “Want to throw me in jail for my opinions? Until you have that power, don’t tell me what to think.”

          Err no. I want you to realize that your views are helping to prosecute people that are harming nobody, and that Incest laws are outdated and unnecessary.
          I am not telling you what to think I am telling you what I think.

  10. Isn’t the entire point of statutory rape laws that they are too young to give consent? It makes no sense that the judge would take that into account at all. Disgusting.

    On the slightly-less-dark side, the headline and first sentence of the news article linked say that the case is being reviewed by the attorney general because of the ridiculous sentencing (why was this left out of the summary here?).

    Also, the (completely ludicrous) reason they are saying she looked 14 is because the laws are different for raping someone under 13. It’s stupid and irrelevant how old she looked, but I’m guessing that’s the reason they brought that up.

    1. On the slightly-less-dark side, the headline and first sentence of the news article linked say that the case is being reviewed by the attorney general because of the ridiculous sentencing (why was this left out of the summary here?).

      Because my rage has nothing to do with it being reviewed. My rage is about the fact that it happened at all. Reviewing the case doesn’t change the fact that a judge, trained and licensed in handling rape cases, told an 11 year old girl that her rape wasn’t important enough to be considered bad enough for more than the minimum jail time… and the judge told a girl that her rape wasn’t so bad because she liked it… and the judge told the girl that her rape wasn’t so bad because she looked 14.

      That it’s under review doesn’t change that this happened. It’s not less awful. It’s irrelevant to the discussion of how this victim was treated.

      1. Oh wow, I didn’t register the first time around that it was the judge who said she looked 14. I had assumed that’s what the defendants said. That’s even more ridiculous.

        I agree that it doesn’t change that it happened, and that it doesn’t make it less awful. I disagree that it is irrelevant to discussion of how the victim was treated. However, this is your blog and your inquisition, so you have every right to steer the conversation wherever you want, so I concede.

        1. While I see what you’re getting at, the fact that someone else in this case has a conscience and sees it as screwed up doesn’t change what this judge did. Adding the fact that it is being investigated might soften the emotional impact of this story, but why would you want to? Sometimes it’s important to be kicked in the emotional teeth, if you will, to stay alert to this type of all-too-common shit.

        2. No, I’m pretty sure the defendants claimed she looked 14. I don’t know if the judge used that in their reasoning for the sentencing. It would be nice to have definitive proof one way or the other.

  11. I must be in shock or something. I’m not so much angry as just… what? It’s so fucking confusing. Is this judge a guy? Is rape just not a big deal to guys because it ‘can’t’ be done to them?

    What. The. Hell.

  12. Now I’m angry with the whole of Great Brittan. This child was repeatedly raped, so where the fuc*ing hell are your child rape laws and minimum sentencing standards? Pathetic, please be embarrassed (and motivated) as a nation. And yes we all have things to be ashamed of and embarrassed over on a national level; it just happens to be GB’s turn and I hope this leads to some changes.


    This “judge” should be forced to sit down and write out the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on a roll of parchment, get that bronzed, and then have someone shove it so far up his ass that that he can use it as a hat!

  14. If I were that young girl’s father, I’d be making plans to hunt down 3 people now.

    Disgraces to England, to my gender, and to the species.

  15. This behavior is disgusting and horrible but what if we frame the issue differently. If in the situation above the girl was crying and saying stop the whole time I would think the men should be punished much more harshly. Likewise if there is evidence that the older men lured the girl in they should be punished more harshly than if she approached them. Of course this behavior is all extremely disgusting but morality is not black and white. There are shades of gray where some moral behavior is worse and we should punish it more harshly. Even with statutory rape I think that those who appear to be more malicious and immoral in their acts should be punished more harshly. It is thus unfortuante that they framed this issue as giving the defendants a lighter sentence when in reality giving some a lighter sentence is done in order to show that other behavior is worse. Of course a girl that young cannot consent however I think it shows a much more malicious heart when someone rapes a girl and she clearly shows how traumatized she is compared to a situation where there is an appearance of consent. In that sense to me it makes sense to punish cases like this more lightly. That being said, this sentence may be unreasonably light for the facts. I found one BBC article from 1999 saying the average statutory rape sentence in the UK is 5 to 7 years so this isn’t too far off that. So does anyone know what the average sentence is on these sort of facts in the UK?

    1. Please see my link in the reply about how much harm these types of rapes actually do to children.

      And, they thought she was FOURTEEN.If we believe them. They were cool with that, and you don’t think they’re dangerous to children? Is that your argument?

    2. ‘I think it shows a much more malicious heart when someone rapes a girl and she clearly shows how traumatized she is compared to a situation where there is an appearance of consent.’

      This means that (and in this case with a child) she, *while being raped*, should come up with behavior and words that would most effectively demonstrate how traumatized she for her rapist and later to a crowded courtroom of people. I am going to guess this is because the rapist (and in this case rapist*s*) are so stupid they don’t know that what they are doing SO wrong. They need it explained to them. Then after they have it explained and proceed with the rape, they are truly bad people. This burden would fall to the victim?

      1. I meant this to mean for sentencing purposes. No one is arguing that they are guilty. Look you can call a person guilty all day long, but without the punishment why even go to court. This is the exact kind of slut shaming and lack of punishment that makes people not even report these kinds of crimes. Fuck this little *gray area* bullshit! It was a child…WTF!

    3. This is what I meant when I said that Dawkins’ talk of “gentle pedophile” was so offensive.

      The law does have nuance and subtlety and gradation, but the scale starts at “very bad”, not zero, and goes up to “extremely bad” ie aggravated rape and aggravated statutory rape.

      The sentence should have been at least 3 times more in my opinion.

    4. I think your argument is “I know she can’t consent, but she kinda consented so it’s not so bad even though she’s not cabable of giving consent. It would have worse if she worked harder to not give the consent that she can’t give.”

      Statutory rape isn’t tricky. It’s not meant to trap men into committing it. It’s a line that’s drawn because of a balance of power and mental and emotional maturity. There is no “willing”.

      Analogy: is it less bad to steal shit from a house because you know the door is open than to break-in through a window? Does the unlocked door and ease of entry mean that legally the things you take are more yours to take than if the door was locked? No. It’s illegal to go into someone’s house and take their shit. Because it’s illegal. Not because they may not mind it so much.

      Also, there is an idea that you’re somehow more raped if you fight back “unless you’re being threatened with a knife/gun”. That’s simply not the case. Women don’t have to be threatened with something in order to submit (submission is not consent.) SHE’S ALREADY BEING THREATENED WITH RAPE.

    5. What if she was drugged? Conditioned? Too scared to react? Unsure of how to react?

      I was in a 2 year abusive relationship that involved rape via coercion. I was often too scared to say anything, even if I was in pain, because he would threaten me (not physically so much as, “I will take everything you own, which I know is almost nothing, then I will kick your ass out and you will have to live on the streets, if you do not take these drugs and then allow me to fuck you.” Sometimes this would go one for HOURS.

      It was easier to just let it happen, pretend to enjoy it, and get it over with as quick as possible.

      It was still rape.

      We have no idea why this CHILD “seemed to” enjoy it. And besides, what exactly did the judge use to determine that she enjoyed it? It seems to me she just didn’t say “no” or didn’t cry out. Is that really a good indication that someone is enjoying being raped? Like I said, what if she was scared, or drugged?

      And you have to remember that sexual predators will GROOM their victims. They will manipulate them and confuse them.

      There is a reason these laws exists. ADULTS SHOULD KNOW BETTER. It should never, ever be on the underage victim to determine what the line is. It is 100% always up to the adult, because they are adults. Period.

      1. My rapes were similar. I’d say no, over and over. I’d explain why I was sick, seeing things from fever, puking, exhausted. Eventually, I just gave in because i realized my no wasn’t going to work.

        Also, this whole thing really reminds me of the shit that girls who develop early get because their bodies were totally asking for it for developing early. I was an embarrassingly late bloomer, but every friend I’ve had who developed in elementary school or earlier got an extra heaping helping of creeps because they totally looked grown (Sure they did, asshole. That’s why they still had baby faces and hadn’t cracked five feet. And were carrying schoolbooks highlighting their actual age.)

        1. I had a stuffed animal that my younger sister had given me once. I was only 20, and had only lived in a big city for a year. My family was a 3 hour drive away, and I didn’t really know anyone. So that stuffed animal meant a lot to me. I even slept with it, which wasn’t really normal for me then (it’s something I did when I was much younger). It was just comforting for me.

          He knew this.

          One night I refused to have sex with him. He had a safe. So he locked the bear in the safe. He knew it would greatly upset me.

          He was a master manipulator, and very controlling (he had 100% access to my computer and logged my keystrokes but I was never even allowed to look at his screen, let alone know his passwords).

          Just because I didn’t fight back doesn’t mean I wasn’t being abused.

          I am so much stronger now, but when I look back, it just makes me so sad.

    6. “Of course a girl that young cannot consent however I think it shows a much more malicious heart when someone rapes a girl and she clearly shows how traumatized she is compared to a situation where there is an appearance of consent.”

      And this entire sentence bothers me a great deal. So, they can’t consent, but there’s still a gray area? What’s gray about consent? A minor cannot consent to an adult relationship. Period.

      Additionally, how do you determine when someone is traumatized enough? Everyone reacts differently to traumatizing experiences. Do we now need to sit victims down and make sure they are “traumatized enough” before we determine what the assailant did was “bad enough to warrant a big enough punishment”?

      Also, you said “an appearance of consent”. Again, what if she was drugged, or scared, or conditioned? CHILDREN CANNOT CONSENT TO ADULT RELATIONSHIPS. The end. Period. End of discussion. THAT IS FINAL.

  16. Actions like this are why many legislatures in the USA have imposed mandatory sentences for various types of offense. If these guys had committed the offenses in my home state, they most likely would have been looking at an indeterminate life sentence with a minimum length of 10 years, and they wouldn’t ever get out until they were deemed safe in the community.

    I, for one, LOVE mandatory sentences for sex crimes and serious violent crimes. If you give discretion to judges, some of them are bound to abuse it, and you get results like this.

      1. It’s probably been discussed, but I’m not sure how likely it would be. It’s already tough enough to get the death penalty when someone is murdered (unless you’re Texas).

  17. “See, your honor, I had to stab him. He obviously wanted to be stabbed… he wasn’t wearing any armor! I figure, not wearing armor is just an invitation for someone to come along and stab you. He didn’t say no until after I’d stuck it in, so you know he was just being a knife tease. Then he didn’t even fight back, even though I stabbed him three or four times! If he didn’t want to be stabbed, why didn’t he fight back.

    Dude was asking for it. I’m just sayin’.”

  18. I wish I was surprised at this. As disgusted as I am and as angry as it makes me, this is pretty much par for the course with many judges in the UK and also Ireland, where I’m writing from. I was in court with a friend who’d been raped (a man incidentally, Elly: I’m not sure if you meant that some men *think* they can’t be raped or if *you* think men can’t be raped. The former, I hope) repeatedly. The case before ours was a woman who’d been gang raped and after some particularly traumatising bullshit from the judge, she hid with friends and refused to come back to the court. Judge Carney issued an arrest warrant for her, told the cop that he was to use no discretion and to warn her and her friends that he has unlimited powers of jailing and fining in cases of contempt of court. The woman was arrested and jailed (for her own safety now, apparently…).

    The same judge allowed a rapist to walk free with only two years suspended because he had never been in trouble before, came from a good family and was “of good character”, things that shouldn’t make a blind bit of difference in a rape case. And what the fuck is “good character” supposed to mean if a rapist can be said to have it?

    This rape ticket crap is meaningless: it’s a bit of paper like your job putting you through a manual handling course so they can get insurance. Whether you actually follow the practices depends solely on who’s watching you and whether or not you gave a shit in the first place.

  19. I can’t believe that there are comments discussing “nuance” in this case. “Nuance” would make sense if it was a girl a few months below legal age, and her boyfriend was a few months over. Some places have laws where there’s an age-overlap where it is legal to sleep with someone under the standard age of consent if you’re within 2-3 years of them in age, down to a certain age. So a 21 year old and a 15 year old is illegal, but if the 15 year old has a 17 year old partner then it is OK. It doesn’t go below 14, I don’t think.

    11 is a whole world away from 16, and even 14 is WAY WAY WAY too young for anyone over the age of 18 to even consider. Oh this pisses me off. She looked like she enjoyed it? She was asking for it? You can’t consent to ANYTHING when you’re 11. The rapists are rapists, you’re not going to be able to get through to them. The judge though… wow, how do you get to be in a position of power and have no clue what you’re doing.

  20. I’m sorry to say this but when I read this I think “thank God, that rape got never reported” from when I was 8 (or the other time last year, but I don’t think reporting “strange on the train” helps much. It was a lot less clear than the case we’re talking about it and just shows so much how incapable people are of proper judgement when the rape doesn’t tick all the boxes. Preferably committed by a foreign(looking)man.

  21. I can understand how “I thought she was 18” could be a defence against statutory rape charges, but 14?

    /these men need to be locked up for a much longer time

    1. I’ve heard the same thing. But, while the US might have harsher and better laws, a lot of times we’re still pretty soft on rape, too.

  22. Ay ya, this brings back horrid memories, even though I’ve worked on them. I spent years and years tangling with guilt and loathing thanks to a babysitter playing a touching game – at first – with me when I was 5 to 6 years old. Hey, he didn’t force me into it, my little young mind even recognized that touching ‘down there’ felt good, and good girls did what they were told with their fingers, mouths, and genitals (also, good girls don’t cause trouble by telling – not that I would have been believed). I’d hate to be sitting on that court hashing over details that had me telling myself “you’re not a victim” and “nope, not really molested” and “you’re just as sick and twisted for ‘enjoying it’, what right do you have to judge?”.

    …and now I wanna puke again. Lovely.

  23. You know what I hate? When people like lansellion come in and make their weird opinions or claims known, and then when we respond in an attempt to educate them on why they are wrong, they never come back, or just never comment. Ugh.

    1. I had to scroll past his/her post before I just saw red…or tears or something. I’m hoping the silence is due to a sudden sense of being profoundly ashamed of his/herself.

        1. It wasn’t pretty, but you’re batting 1000 (or something, baseball is Greek to me) on this thread and I just want to say, thanks. So very much thanks. I would love to come out swinging as well, but this one’s a little too raw for me.

  24. Wait let me get this straight. Two men video tape themselves committing a crime. And somehow this video evidence HELPS their case?

    1. RIGHT? Like, there is ZERO question that they committed the crime. There are MANY REASONS a woman (even moreso a child) may look like they are enjoying themselves while they’re being raped. Just. What is this I don’t even.

  25. As a response to those who responded me I want to start with saying that perhaps I wasn’t clear whith my argument.

    First: I am not saying that she could consent that she consented in any sort of way or that this was in any way ok. Nor am saying the harm is less because she “appeared to like it.” Nor am I even arguing that she liked it. Likewise I am not arguing that the victim has some duty to show she is being victimized for it to be a rape.

    That being said I’ll try to explain my argument better.
    Criminal trials have two stages: 1) guilt & 2) sentencing. The guilt stage in this trial was complete and the defendants found guilt. Period. They do not escape this at all, they are 100% guilty and should be.

    Next is sentencing. We should start with a base sentence based on the harm to the victim but I think we should also take in the culpability of the defendant. For example imagine a statutory rape case where a 11 year old girl asked a 21 year old man to have sex with her and he did so and he was sentenced to jail for 20 years. Then imagine a different 21 year old man luring in a 11 year old girl with candy to have sex with her and getting sentenced to only 20 years. I would be outraged that the luring man was not punished more harshly than the non-luring man. So in this sense I am saying different degrees of culpability require different punishments.

    Thus I believe the issue of apparent consent should play a role in the sentencing decision. This is not requiring the girl to act scared to make it be rape because the men are already found guilty, they raped her that is not a question. Now the question is just how horrible and immoral are these men? I personally would be more horrified by a person who continued to rape a crying girl as opposed to a man who saw what might in other situations be perceived as consent. Both situations are sickening, horrifying, and disgusting and both men are behaving way beyond the bounds of morality but as I said before there are shades of evil. Even with murder we punish those more harshly who act with malicious premeditation as opposed to those who just intentionally kill in the heat of the moment.

    Oh and Elyse, your analagoy is a little off. Imagine that a person was told they could have his friends lawnmower. So he gets drunk & goes to what he thinks is his friends house breaks in and takes the mower but it turns out it was the wrong house. The person acted immoraly even if he had entered the right house because he still broke in. & his mistake is not an excuse to theft because he negligently entered the worng house while drunk. However, I think we should punish this person less than a person who stole the lawnmower with full knowledge that they had absolutely no authority to take it even though a reasonable person should have known better.

    1. You start off with the fact that what these two adults did — which was RAPE A CHILD — was 100% wrong. You said that you understand the harm is the same, no matter the circumstances, since a CHILD WAS RAPED BY ADULTS, even if she “appeared to like it”. Then you continue on to say that she does not have a duty to show she was victimized, or how much. According to you, she is not at all at fault.

      Good, awesome, great, we are on the same page.


      ” but I think we should also take in the culpability of the defendant.”

      At this point, I haven’t read anything else, because what the fuck, dude? How can you in any way start by saying that it was not her fault, among the other things you said, and yet completely turn about-face and start talking about “culpability”?!

      Do you have any idea what that word means?

      Let me show you:

      You cannot say that the child is not at fault — 100% not at fault — and then start talking about her culpability. Jesus fucking christ on a cracker.

      Now, let me break down your bullshit fucking argument:

      “For example imagine a statutory rape case where a 11 year old girl asked a 21 year old man to have sex with her and he did so and he was sentenced to jail for 20 years.”

      Good. He should be. Or more. He is an adult. She is an ELEVEN YEAR OLD CHILD. A 21 year old ADULT should know better not to RAPE A CHILD.

      I would be outraged that the luring man was not punished more harshly than the non-luring man.

      WHY? Why does it matter? In both cases, an adult made the decision to RAPE A CHILD.

      You need to ask yourself WHY an 11 year old would ask to have sex with a 21 year old man. This isn’t normal. That means something is wrong. Maybe they just think it will be romantic and sweet because they know their parents have sex and that it should be romantic. But more than likely, it’s something else much, much deeper that is wrong. 11 year old girls do NOT normally ask adult men to have sex with them. Why would they even be in such a position to begin with if something is not very, very wrong?!?!?!?!?!

      Even if she asked to have sex with him, HE STILL CHOSE TO RAPE HER. He should know, hands down, without any question, that this is WRONG and that he should not do it. And those child rapists knew it was wrong.

      “Even with murder we punish those more harshly who act with malicious premeditation as opposed to those who just intentionally kill in the heat of the moment.”

      RAPING A CHILD IS ALWAYS MALICIOUS. There is nothing non-malicious about it. I don’t care if she is literally fucking asking for it. A 21 year old man KNOWS he is doing something very fucked up.

      Also, I can’t believe you used the, “But what if she ASKED for it? Literally asked for it!” argument when it comes to a fucking child being raped by adults. I don’t care if she walks into a room, butt-ass naked, and flops down on the floor spread eagle: She is a child and the adult should know better not to fucking rape her. It is, indeed, that fucking simple.

      This is why we have laws to protect children. So that adults don’t get away with taking advantave of children..

      Who, may I remind you, cannot consent. THEY CANNOT CONSENT. Period. If they can’t consent, and if the adult is required to take responsibility for that fact (which they are), why should the end punishment ever be any less harsh? It is all the same in the end: A child was harmed, probably forever, because an adult took maliciously took advantage of them.

      No matter the reasons, raping a child is always malicious, always wrong, and should always get the same harsh sentencing.

      Seriously. I am appalled and disgusted by you.

      1. Marilove, sorry if I was unclear but you quote me as saying
        “but I think we should also take in the culpability of the defendant”
        then say: “You cannot say that the child is not at fault — 100% not at fault — and then start talking about her culpability”
        I was not talking about her culpability, I was talking about the culpability of the defendants, again sorry if I was unclear, but perhaps you should re-read the definition because it is excactly approriate in this context.
        I do not disagree that an adult should know better than to rape a child and that it is always malicious that is obvious.
        The only point I disagree on is that there can be different degrees of maliciousness of child rape, I think some are worse than others. Personally I believe that we should consider more than just the harm caused when punishing and take into consideration the mental state of the defendant.

        1. The culpability of the defendants is that they CHOSE TO RAPE A CHILD.

          If you try to say, “Well, maybe, maybe they thought she was asking for it” — which is what you did say — then you are pushing the culpability right back on to her.

          ADULTS should know not to rape a CHILD, no matter the circumstances. THAT IS MY POINT.

    2. “Thus I believe the issue of apparent consent should play a role in the sentencing decision. ”

      And I don’t think you get what consent means and what the laws protecting children means:

      It means that children CANNOT consent. They cannot consent. CANNOT CONSENT.

      At all.


      One more time: It is illegal to rape them because they by law cannot consent.

      So there is no “apparent consent” about it. None. Because, One last fucking time,: BY LAW, THERE IS NO WAY A MINOR CAN CONSENT.

      1. There are two different definitions of consent at play here, legal consent and what society generally defines as consent. Legally the children cannot consent but they can still use words that when taken in a general social context would be considered consent. Just as a minor may not consent to a contract legally they can still say “yes” and give the appearance of entering a contract. In the statutory rape situation I personally find it more horrible when the child demonstrates less of this apparent consent because of the effect it has on the hearer. As I described above I want to see a luring pedophile punished more harshly than a non-luring one exactly because there is less of this apparent consent and to me that shows more maliciousness.

        1. ” Legally the children cannot consent but they can still use words that when taken in a general social context would be considered consent.”


          No no no no.

          There is nothing a CHILD can say to an ADULT that gives the illusion of consent since children cannot, hand down, consent, to an adult. Period.

    3. And you know, if you, an adult, are asked by an 11 year old child to fuck them, your very first thought should be, “What is wrong?” Actually having sex with the child should not come into the picture.

      Then you s should get out of that situation, as soon as possible, and talk to someone about that child. Either her parents, if you don’t suspect that’s where the problem arises, or her teachers. Maybe the authorities if you suspect something else is truly amiss.

      What you should NOT do: Rape them. For any reason. And if you do, you should be severely punished just as any other child rapist should be.

      1. I full heartedly agree that not having sex is the appropriate response. Thus this is a non-sequitur and a straw man. The question is: after they have already acted wrongly how should we determine the punishment?

        1. “Well maybe she asked for it!” should never, ever, ever, ever be considered as part of the judgement. Ever. SINCE SHE CANNOT LEGALLY ASK FOR IT.

    4. Do you even understand the harm these kinds of rapes do? Or what kind of lack of humanity it takes to do something like this to a child? They knew she was a child. They didn’t give a shit. They’re dangerous. I don’t understand why you seem to think this was a harmless indiscretion on par with a traffic violation or shoplifting.

      1. But that slut may have asked for it! And men are just so stupid and so controlled by their penises, sometimes they just accidentally rape an 11 year old.

    5. Yeah, the man’s perception of the situation definitely does need to be taken into account. I mean two guys who vaginally raped an 11 year old should get the consideration of not knowing what they did might be wrong.

      Dude, seriously? Let’s repeat again what you are saying.
      – An 11 year SHOULD know to cry and scream when she’s being raped. After all, by 11, girls should know not to be quiet out of fear or manipulation when they’re gang raped.
      – Men when raping pre-teens or teenagers should be given consideration if the kid likes it.

      You don’t see how that’s totally backwards and fucked up? Get fucking your head straight man. If you can’t get your head straight on your own, have someone punch you in your confused face.

      1. You know … this really strikes me as interesting. Not once during the Penn State debacle that is still ongoing did anyone slut-shame the boys, most of them around this girl’s age. There wasn’t a question that what happened was wrong. Same thing with the scandals involving Catholic Priests.

        But this girl? Even here, where you’d think this wouldn’t happen, she is slut-shamed, and the seriousness of her violation is downplayed. And this isn’t the only time these sorts of discussions have come up when young girls and women are raped.

        Both cases are equally awful, but they are treated very differently by society, aren’t they?

        1. You’re right, not once have I heard anyone say, ‘Well, if the boys seemed to like it, it wasn’t that bad. Not rape-rape.’ I haven’t heard anyone argue that what Sandusky did isn’t that bad if all those boys didn’t scream and cry and call the cops. Great catch.

          1. Oh, look!:


            A man has sex with a 13 year old girl who is probably drugged and unconscious and it isn’t “rape-rape”. That’s where you got that turn of phrase.

            Gray areas, you guys! When it comes to raping girls of any age, there are gray areas! Girls want to get raped!

            The next time someone tells me we don’t live in a fucking rape culture I am pointing them to this thread.

            Why is it that we are discussing the “appearance of consent” of an eleven year old child who by law cannot even consent? And why does a judge, who must have years upon years of schooling and experience, NOT understand that a child CANNOT consent?!

            That is what gets me.


          2. Actually, while it’s less frequent, there have been claims made that the boys in both the RC scandal and the Sandusky mess were willing partners. (Often in the RC cases, it was phrased as an bizarre “Well, you liberals always say that gay sex is okay so why are you upset about gay priests” thing–never mind that what people were upset about were “gay priests abusing 14- to 16-year-old children.”) Seriously, these folks just do not understand the notion of consent.

          3. I think, in general, freemage, that that is pretty rare, and only exists among a really small subset of the population, most notably NAMBLA and people who tend to think like them. I’m sure there are people that put some of the blame on the boys; society can suck like that sometimes. However, it is quite rare, as compared to how often it happens whenever young girls and young women are raped or harassed.

            Of course, boys have their own set of things to deal with when it comes to rape, and it depends greatly on the sex of the rapist, too. If it were an older woman instead of an older man in the Penn State case, things might very well be different.

            So there’s that. My comparison isn’t perfect, but I think in general, it works.

        2. Well if a man rapes another man, he’s a sick homo.

          But apparently women invite it by being alive.

          1. Yep, there’s that too. The man raping a little boy is sick, wrong, and probably gay (instead of a pedophile, which is not the same thing as a gay man). But when it comes to girls getting raped? Well, maybe the slut liked it! Maybe the slut asked for it! You never know! Come on! Girls are sexual! Even at 11 years old! And men just have to fuck sexual children because they can’t control their penises!

            Good gooood I want to barf.

        3. Wow. That’s a really good point. I’ve seen a few posts of people trying to shame the parents for letting their children be near a rapist (wut?) but never “the boys probably liked it”. It’s heteronormativity reinforcing slut-shaming solely towards women.

      2. Again, maybe I’m not clear because most criticisms I see ignore my point and throw straw men and ad hominems. So another example:

        No one can consent to being killed. If someone asks their friend to kill them and the friend does so I think it is horrible. But I think a person who shoots another person on the street for fun should be punished more.

        That is my only point. That the internal mind process of the guilty person should have an effect on punishment. It shouldn’t have an effect on guilt. It is not slut shaming to suggest that a person who does something with intent as opposed to recklessness is worse it is merely a statement of the view that more evil intent should be punished more harshly.

        Marilove you implicitly agree with this premise when you agree with punishing those under the age of majority less for statutory rape. The reason we do so is because we believe them less morally developed and thus do not judge their acts to be as evil as those who are older and should know better. The harm to the child is the same in both cases and the only difference is the mental state of the guilty party.

        The “gray” area you have so taken outside the context I used it refers to shades of evil intent. We punish those who have a criminal history more harshly and I think we should likewise punish those with worse criminal intent more harshly.

        1. OK, I think Marilove deserves a break here, so let me give this a shot. I’ll try to do this without insulting you, although that’s going to be difficult.

          Let me recast your own argument for you using a different scenario. Imagine if you will, that you have two young pre-teen daughters that you love more than life itself. They are, beyond anything else you will ever do, your legacy that you will leave behind to the world.

          Then one day, as these daughters whom you love are walking home from school, they are grabbed by two adult men and hauled into an abandoned building. For the next hour, each man proceeds to rape one of your daughters while recording the whole thing on video. Each of your daughters responds to being raped quite differently. Daughter #1 screams “NO!” repeatedly, crying and struggling to escape throughout her rapes. Daughter #2, in desperate hope that pretending to go along with the rapes will cause them to be over more quickly, feigns enjoyment as best she can while she is being raped. Despite their different responses, both girls are raped the same number of times, with roughly equal levels of violence.

          Fortunately both men are caught before any other girls are raped, and both men are declared guilty in a subsequent trial. As part of the sentencing phase, you and your daughters are asked to come to the court and provide input as to the appropriate punishment. By the very same arguments you have made in this thread, your only possible response to this would be to argue that the man who raped your first daughter should go to prison longer than the man who raped your second daughter, because somehow the first guy’s raping was worse than the second guy’s raping!

          Can you not see how fucking wrong this is?! Can you not see how your daughters’ responses to being raped should have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with how their rapists are punished?! Are you going to sit here and argue that your second daughter’s response to being raped means the judge should send her rapist to jail for less time than the first rapist??!! Because that is the only conclusion I can draw from what you have said.

    6. Oh and Elyse, your analagoy is a little off. Imagine that a person was told they could have his friends lawnmower. So he gets drunk & goes to what he thinks is his friends house breaks in and takes the mower but it turns out it was the wrong house. The person acted immoraly even if he had entered the right house because he still broke in. & his mistake is not an excuse to theft because he negligently entered the worng house while drunk. However, I think we should punish this person less than a person who stole the lawnmower with full knowledge that they had absolutely no authority to take it even though a reasonable person should have known better.

      No. It’s like he was looking to break into a house and asked some kid on the sidewalk nearby if it was cool for him to go take some stuff out of the house.

      Because NO ONE HAS THE AUTHORITY to authorize that. NO ONE.

      Unless you think that these guys accidentally raped this girl, while filming it, but the whole time they thought they were having sex with another girl they knew (which even they are not claiming).

    7. Obviously dangerous to leap to lansellions defence given the level of feeling expressed on this discussion. Unfortunately that is exactly what the law is supposed to be free of – passion.

      And although I’m also disgusted by the case and the sentence, it is being reviewed so hopefully will be made more reasonable, I have to admit I agree with one of lansellions points.

      No matter how unpleasant or disgusting the crime there has to be a degree of judicial freedom in setting the tariff. Marilove makes a point that a child even if it flops down on the floor spreadeagled then any sexual encounter is wrong – obviously so! The point that lansellion was making was that faced with two rape cases one where the above occurred the other where the rapist grabbed off the street, beat and raped a child on the way home the sentence will be different. And I have to agree it should be.

      Otherwise since the definition of child includes any minor you could get the absurd situation of a 16yr old who has sex with his girlfriend one day before her 16th birthday is automatically given the maximum sentence. The crimes are worlds apart so there needs to either be a different class of crime committed or there needs to be flexibility in sentencing. Rape is rape so we have flexibility in sentencing – it went wrong in this case but it needs to be there.

      1. Child rapists should always get the maximum for their crimes. In the case for children beating beaten, there will be other crimes they will be charged with that might make the sentencing a bit different. But in the end, a child rapist should get FAR MORE than 3 years. Indeed, they should be locked up for a good, long time. Forever if I had my way, but I know I don’t. These people don’t get better. This is one of the sickest crimes you can do as a human being, and that includes cold-blooded murder.

      2. Also, someone already mentioned that in most laws, there is wiggle room for cases when it involves other children. I agree that a 16 year old shouldn’t get the same as a 21 year old ADULT, but that’s the difference; The 21 year olds were ADULTS.

        She was 11. Even if they thought she was 14, she is still a CHILD. And children cannot consent at all ever. That is the point.

      3. And again … why didn’t this sort of stuff happen with the Penn state case? No one tried to slut-shame those boys. They were quite respected, actually, as they should be. Girls are never given that same respect. Girls are always questioned and there are always gray areas and maybe it wasn’t “rape rape”.

        Why is that?

        Oh, I know why it is, but of course people will continue to deny that we don’t live in a patriarchy and there isn’t a culture of rape.

        1. Three replies to reply to…

          First I mostly agree with you in this case – but child rapists should always get the maximum term… Well since anyone who has sex with a minor is defined as a rapist regardless of the circumstances I’d have to say no. And although it seems wrong I’d have to disagree with the statement “children cannot consent at all ever”… Now I’m in danger of getting you as angry as the other poster did so I’d better explain myself.

          My first relationship was a bit different in that I went out at 12 with a 17yr old. I was a large tall lad for my age (Actually ended up about average but I got there fast) and she was petite so didn’t look that weird and no one commented apart from my sister who couldn’t believe a girl a bit younger than her was going out with her snotty little brother (She was 18).

          I actually went out with her for a year – but during that time she was obviously what we called a ‘user’. I lived in a big house in a posh area and she used to get me to give her my pocket money etc. I eventually left her after her hitting her dogs once too often, she used to hit me but then so did my mates – it was only annoying I couldn’t hit her back as she was a girl – the dogs was too much. Basically she was a nasty ignorant manipulative girl – but her being an attractive blonde and the only girl who showed any interest in me made me ignore it!

          Years later we re-met and she reminisced about our snogging and other ‘stuff’, going as far to say I was her ‘first’. I don’t remember it that way (Americans say 3rd base I think?) but I was 12 and she was 17 so either way it was in theory illegal… Did I consent? I certainly remember blocking the door of my bedroom so my parents could not walk in on us. Did it damage me in any way? I’m sure if a psychiatrist got hold of me they’d have a field day on the fact I never had a long term relationship (more than a few days) after until I met my wife in my mid-twenties. But it would be absurd to even say there was a crime from my point of view.

          So while I know saying anything other than a child can never consent is a free pass to paedophiles and that is the legal basis of statutory rape – I was a child – if she was a few years older it would not be that different in age terms… So basically I revert to the reason I call myself a sceptic and say nothing is black and white.

          1. A child cannot consent to an ADULT EVER.

            An 11 year old. A 14 year old. These are quite clearly CHILDREN. And a 21 year old is beyond a doubt an adult. That is the discussion here. You and the other commenter are trying to make some sort of gray area, when there isn’t. Not in this case. Not when a TWENTY ONE YEAR OLD RAPES AN ELEVEN year old child.

            Now, yes, when you start talking about kids and older teens, things get a bit different. And in fact, most laws actually recognize that.

            I actually went through a very similar experience as you. I’m a woman, if you couldn’t guess. I think I might have been younger than you. 10 or 11. There was an older girl. She babysat us sometimes. She was probably 16, though I don’t remember exactly. I remember we did things. I don’t really remember specifics. Just a vague memory of exploring and nakedness. kind of wish I remembered more, because I’m curious how far things went.

            I think my parents eventually figured out something wasn’t right, because she stopped hanging around.

            I’m not that bothered by it, at least when I look back on it, but I do wonder wonder what kind of affect it has had on me an adult, and with my adult relationships. I’m sure it’s had some sort of affect, right? Maybe that’s why I am sexually attracted to women as well as men? Or maybe I was before?

            I get the feeling I (and maybe my sisters?) weren’t her only victims. She was a user, too.

            But she wasn’t an adult, and had she been caught, the law would rightly look at things a bit differently.

            I do think that at 17, you’re old enough in most cases to know not to date a 12 year old. I mean, that’s just odd. But 17 is still not an adult. Though depending on circumstances and how close they are to their 18th birthday, the courts may decide to see them as an adult.

            When it comes to children and teens, things do get a bit gray.

            But when it comes to ADULTS and an ELEVEN year old girl, things are not gray.

            She cannot consent to an adult. The adult is the one that holds all the power, and responsibility.

          2. God dammit I didn’t review my comment before posting, stupid tags. :( I wish we could still edit.

            If I’m going to be blunt, I hate this new commenting system with a fucking passion.

        2. Mairlove, your comments on the Penn State case are very insightful. And very depressing! I wouldn’t have thought that anyone could have come up with something that would make me more disgusted about the Penn State case than I already was, but you managed to do so.

          What I find even more disgusting (if I’m going to be honest with myself) is that until this thread happened, I probably would have viewed the two situations differently, unconsciously shifting some of the shame to the girls but not the boys.

          Apparently, up until yesterday, I was an ignorant fuckhead! I kind of despise the me of the last 46 years.

          I guess the best I can do now is try to root out that particular bit of mental poison and do better in the years to come.

          Talk about your painful self-realizations!

          1. In rereading my comment, I realized I should make absolutely clear that even before this thread I viewed both the PennState case and this one with repulsion. Both crimes were vile and hateful. But when I looked at my own mental response in each case in the light of this thread, I could see small differences in how I viewed them. Even though the differences were small, I am appalled and ashamed to find them there. I am not nearly as enlightened I had imagined. That cold light of scrutiny revealed something in my mind that cannot be allowed to exist a moment longer.

            I can already see that rooting out the patriarchy-cancer in my brain is going to be a long and painful process.

          2. Who would have thought something so good could come from this discussion?

            I’m proud of you, Steve. It’s not an easy thing to accept about your own thoughts.

          3. This makes me happy. :) Well, as happy as one can be, considering the topic.

          4. And you were clear in your first comment. I totally got what you were saying. We ALL hold biases and prejudices that we aren’t consciously aware of them, until we are faced with them.

            Even I catch myself sometimes with sexist bullshit. It happens. That’s why we’re Skeptics!

      4. No. You’re misunderstanding the “intent doesn’t change the crime” argument and bringing “assault vs aggravated assault” into the discussion. Those are two different crimes. If you rape someone, that’s one thing. If you beat someone before/during/after you rape them, that’s more serious. If you kill them before/during the rape, that’s more serious still. But not because it changes the fact that you are raping someone: only because ADDITIONAL crimes are being committed, thus adding to your sentencing.

    1. I agree with you, Marilove.

      Your argument is recognised in the law as the eggshell skull principle (see Wikipedia).

      That is to say, if you happen to hit someone who unbenowns to you has a thin skull and suffers extreme consequences, you are liable for that damage, despite your ignorance of the condition.

      Or in this case the damage is greater because the child was 11, despite your thinking she was 14 (and yeah right, pull the other one, it goes from wrong to wronger to off the planet).

      So the judge in my learned (!) opinion erred in not recognising that.

      And also, surely there were multiple charges here? Like rape PLUS rape of a minor PLUS aiding and abetting PLUS aggravated all of the above and failure to report and multiple counts???

      1. I still can’t believe they asked, “Well, what if she asked for it?”

        I just.


        She’s 11! It doesn’t matter! And if she did something is clearly already not right!

        I know sometimes I come across kinda aggressive, but I have not been this genuinely affected by a thread in a long time. These debates don’t generally affect me a great deal. I mean it’ll get heated but my meatspace life continues. This genuinely got to me.

        Slut shaming an 11 year old. And trying to come off as sympathetic, and as a skeptic, too. Shameful.

      2. Eggshell plaintiff is inaplicable here, it applies in civil and not criminal cases. It is the principal that you need to pay the damages that arise from your harmful act no matter if the plaintiff is especially susceptible to damages. For example, if you hit a person with weak bones and break their bones you must pay for the medical bills for the broken bone. You cannot limit the damages you pay by claiming a normal person would not have a broken bone. Eggshell plaintiff is thus an issue of damages and not liability and doesn’t apply in criminal cases.

        1. I’m not sure if you’re willfully ignorant or what. First, you bring up the culpability of the victim. Then, you make excuses for the perpetrator. You keep arguing that ‘there’s worse rapes’. Why is it so important to you that these men get a short sentence? Why do you think that they aren’t dangerous? Why do you think that the child’s behavior has any bearing whatsoever on the seriousness of the crime and the likelihood that they’ll reoffend? And why are you having so much difficulty understanding what we’re talking about?
          And why are you arguing about the eggshell defense theory? You’re wrong. From wiki:
          The eggshell skull rule (or thin skull rule or you take your victim as you find him rule of the common law) is a well established legal doctrine used in some tort law systems,[1] with a similar doctrine applicable to criminal law.
          Why are you defending ephebophiles? What makes you think these men won’t rape more children? What makes you so comfortable with the idea of sex with children that you can even make these arguments? Because you seem okay with sex with kids, as long as the kid ‘likes it’. You deny it, but then you go right back to consent and culpability. Of the child.
          You’re not acting like a human being with a heart, and I wonder why. Do you have kids this age? Are you around kids this age? Do you want to fuck kids this age? What’s your problem?

    2. Marilove, there have been times when I have thought that you came across too aggressively or jumped down someone’s throat without due cause.


      All things considered, I think this time you’re being rather restrained. @lansellion is doing nothing less than slut-shaming an 11 year old girl. Please continue flenzing him until he stops.

      1. I am seriously upset and that NEVER happens. Well the reddit article did it. Rape is one of those things. But this REALLY got me.

        Slut-shaming an 11 year old child and claiming that an 11 year old child can ask to be raped, and also stating she is not 100% at fault but we still need to look at her “culpability” and “apparent consent” even though, even by fucking law, they cannot consent.

        In these sorts of cases, apparent consent shouldn’t even be brought up, considering they can’t consent. Hoooow is this a difficult concept?

  26. And let’s not forget that these types of people tend to re-offend, or continue to abuse in other ways. THREE years. That’s it. They are still young enough where that’s really not that big of a deal.

    And will she be safe when they get out of prison?

    Oh, but hey, we still need to consider her culpability, and that maybe they weren’t *that* malicious when rapping an 11 year old girl.

    This girl’s life is now forever changed. And these fuckers will be out of jail in no time.

    1. Well, she WILL be 14 by then, so maybe they can claim they thought she was 17.

      Seriously, marilove, thanks for your outrage. Slut-shaming an 11-year-old is beyond despicable.

      Also thanks for sharing (and BeccaTheCyborg)about your horrible experiences earlier–it helped lend some insight into a very similar experience I had that I’ve been trying to come to terms with.

  27. I wonder whether the training he received was grounded in psychology in any way. His assumptions on the behavior of victims suggests to me that he does not have a full understanding of Human psychology. Similarly, current data on memory has thrown eyewitness testimony into greater scrutiny, so it stands to say that a lack of knowledge of behavior (or a bias to ignore) will detrimentally affect the outcome of a trial. It’s particularly worrisome given the nature of this particular crime.

    1. Well one thing is they will be on the sex offenders register for life so they have a lifetime sentence in that regard. I would say that is the worst part of the punishment for any offender as there is no hope of parole or release from that burden.

      We don’t have the US law in the UK where you have to say where the people on the register are but the police keep a close eye on anyone. Pretty hard to get any sort of job or even volunteer where you come in contact with kids. The slightest offence of a sexual nature and they will be back inside for a long while. Even failing to register location etc is an automatic five year term. So while they have messed up that kids life they’ve also messed their own up as well which should be a pretty stern deterrent.

      1. Oh dear, some child rapists have to register their entire lives as child rapists. I feel terrible for them.

        “but the police keep a close eye on anyone.”

        Yeah, I bet they do.

        This doesn’t mean they couldn’t still get revenge.

        3 fucking years for raping an 11 year old. And you’re defending this crap?

      2. “So while they have messed up that kids life they’ve also messed their own up as well which should be a pretty stern deterrent.”

        And, what? They’ve “Messed up their lives”? Seriously? Again: OH BOO FUCKING HOO. They made the choice. They can deal with it.

        Additionally, now that they have “messed up their lives” they may feel they need to get revenge, and maybe they will feel like they don’t have anything else to lose.

        People have taken revenge on much less.

        Also, you don’t seem to understand how likely it is for people who commit these sort of crimes to reoffend. 3 years in jail is not going to be a fucking deterrent. People get more for smoking pot.

        Additionally, “So while they have messed up that kids life” … man that is some brushing aside the seriousness of this violation.

    1. I’m totally for rehabilitation, but it’s not always possible. Especially with pedophiles, and a lot of sexual predators in general. It does feel hopeless.

      1. I mean, that program is 99% ineffective!

        If I had 150 grand a year per inmate, I reckon I could come up with something better.

        Like a prisoner exchange program with the People’s Republic of China, for instance.

  28. Elyse, I really can’t thank you enough for starting this thread. I never know going into one of these when I am going to learn something that shakes the very foundation of my sense of self. It’s why I have kept coming back, day after day, for many years. Especially in the last year when issues of feminism, gender identity, and male privilege have come to the fore. People who complain that these issues have little to do with skepticism can go fuck themselves! Skepticism is as much about learning your unconscious biases than anything else, and what subject could be more rife with them than issues of sexual identity and power?

    Keep it up, all you wonderful, powerful Skepchicks, and never for a moment imagine that you aren’t changing the world, every fucking day!

  29. There does seem to be some religious precedent for this. In Deuteronomy 22:23 if she doesn’t scream (for help I am assuming) she would be stoned to death. So we seem to be making some headway after 2000 years, at least she is still alive. Could that crazy old rag the bible be influencing this judge?

  30. it’s truly sad that a judge uses the body’s natural response to stimuli to justify his insane and archaic decision to lessen the sentence on not one but 2 grown men who gang raped a girl. i’m sure if it was his daughter he would have a different opinion. my wife was repeatedly sexually assaulted/raped by a 16 year old boy in her parents’ foster care. she was under the age of 10 at the time. he threatened to kill her parents if she told anyone. as a teenager she went to counselling and only after discovering that it is ‘natural’ to be ‘turned on’ by the touching of the genitalia even by a rapist, was she able to forgive herself and move on with her life. what i’m trying to say here is that it is irrelevant that the girl ‘enjoyed’ it at any level. the two men not only raped an underaged girl, they filmed it and were in possession of child porn and should have been charged with that as well. what we all need to do is send the judge some letters shaming him for this act. the only justice here will be served in jail – yes if any of the inmates in the jail learn of their despicable acts these ‘manboys’ will be killed or severely beaten. funny how criminals have more guts than the judge did.

  31. As a uk resident I can tell you that our judges have a long history of extreme leniency and stupidity. This link highlights a few other rape cases.

    More lunacy from our judges: They have recently forced the release of a suspected terrorist and hate preacher Abu Qatada. The government wants to extradite him to Jordan. He entered the uk illegaly, called for the murder of jews, has received over a £1m in taxpayers money for legal costs and living expenses and the reported cost of monitoring him is £5m per year.

  32. So discussing this with a friend on FB, he pointed out that the victim blaming seems to happen with male victims of FEMALE assailants as well. I actually agree that male victims are often treated with dismissal. What I DON’T think they’re treated with is slut-shaming.

  33. Hey, does that mean that if I look like I’m enjoying it, this ruling isn’t raping me?

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